Showing posts with label animation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label animation. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

A Chat with with Bob Scott, the cartoonist creator of "Bear with Me"

 by Mike Rhode

Animator and webcomics artist Bob Scott has nothing to do with the DC-area. In fact, he has only been here as a teenage tourist, as he reveals later on in this interview. However, he's making the rounds to promote his new book, and sent me a very nice email, so why not expand our focus just this once in these odd times? He answered our usual questions, modified somewhat as necessary. First, here's a pocket biography, compiled from Bob's pages at Hermes Press and CTN.

Bob Scott lives in both the world of comic strips and animation. Born in Detroit, Bob began drawing at a young age, copying what he saw in the funny pages. Acceptance and graduation from California Institute of the Arts opened the world of character animation for Bob. He has worked over 35 years in the industry as an animator, character designer, storyboard artist and voice talent. Scott’s animated short 'Late Night with Myron' was part of the 1988 theatrical compilation film entitled 'Outrageous Animation'. His animation has been seen in numerous animated feature films such as Pixar’s 'Toy Story 3' (2010), 'Ratatouille' (2007), 'WALL-E' (2008), 'The Incredibles' (2004),  Dreamworks Animation's 'The Prince of Egypt' (1998), Warner Brothers’ Bugs Bunny in Box Office Bunny (1990), and Turner Animation’s Cat’s Don’t Dance among others. He led the animation team on the Annie Award winning Pixar short 'Your Friend the Ratand' (2007) was part of the small animation crew for the Oscar-nominated 'Day and Night' (2010). He has worked for Jim Davis, co-penciling U.S. Acres and co-directing Garfield: His 9 Lives. Bob has always wanted a comic strip of his own, and so Bear with Me (aka Molly and the Bear) was born and became a syndicated webcomic in 2010. 


What type of comic work or cartooning do you do?

I write and draw my own syndicated webcomic Bear with Me. I am also in the animation industry; I’ve been a 2D animator, a computer animator and a story artist.  While animation is my full-time work, comic strips let me be my own artist.

How do you do it? Traditional pen and ink, computer or a combination?

Both!

I keep Bear with Me as traditional as possible.  It’s a black and white, three to four panel comic strip. It’s the style and form that I grew up with and have never gotten tired of. 

Bear with Me is drawn on Bristol board with a blue pencil and inked with a Windsor Newton brush using black India ink.  I am such an old-school purist, I even hand letter the strip.   Technology rears its head for the rest of the process: I scan the strip into Photoshop, digitally erase the blue pencil, do Sunday color, and make small adjustments as needed. I am like every other artist in this regard, while I try to not be a super-perfectionist, sometimes things just bug me and I can fix them in Photoshop. 

When (within a decade is fine) and where were you born?

I was born in Detroit in 1964. I grew up in the suburbs with my parents and brothers. That makes me a true city boy. Right out of Cal Arts, Jim Davis hired me (and Brett Koth) to co-pencil his new strip, U.S.Acres.  Jim ribbed me endlessly for not knowing how to draw a bale of hay.

Cartooning isn’t one of those jobs kids think of when they pick a profession.  How did you end up in cartooning/ animation?

My mom and dad supported my pursuit of the arts 100%.  Mom saw all the names in the TV animation credits and figured lots of people were working on these shows, so why not me? That was a rare and exceptional point of view.  So many people are steered away from the arts. 

As a teen I got the chance to talk with Larry Wright, the in house editorial cartoonist at the Detroit Free Press. (Wright Angles, Kit ‘n’ Carlyle)   He gave me a lot of excellent advice – most notably “Write what you know.”  I think it is important to see and talk to people actually IN the jobs you dream of because that lets you know it is possible, and they can help you map a course out.   

Where do you live now, since it's not in the DMV?

I live in sunny Southern California.  Is it the weather that drew me to LA? The beaches?  Nope.  SoCal is the epicenter of animation.

What is your training and/or education in cartooning?

I was trained as a traditional animator in the character animation program at Cal Arts. Which was great!  I was there in the early 80s, so we learned 2D animation. That means we drew 12 to 24 drawings per second of film, 720 – 1440 drawings per minute of film.  When you do that much drawing, you can’t help but get better. Also, you learn to give your drawings life even when they are not moving. 

Working for Jim Davis taught me the ropes of comic strip production. He was a great guy and an excellent mentor in joke writing.  Also, he knew a lot about hay bales. Handy knowledge.

My education in art is ongoing.  I find the artists I work with are exceptional and so inspiring.  I strive to be better every day and being around amazing artists helps keep me moving forward.

Who are your influences?

I love so many cartoonist’s and animator’s work. Ever since I was a kid, I loved animation. This may be because my  mom propped me in front of cartoons as soon as I could sit up.  She was an excellent mom, by the way. She supported my love of film and drawing 100%.  As a kid, I would race home from school to watch Bugs Bunny, Tom and Jerry, The Flintstones and Popeye cartoons. On Sunday nights I was glued to The Wonderful World of Disney. I read the comics in our local paper. We had some obscure ones that I absolutely loved! Quincy by Ted Shearer and Eek and Meek by Howie Schneider. I later discovered Pogo and ate up Doonesbury and Bloom County in high school and college. I also love comedy! 70s and 80s SNL, The Blues Brothers, Abbott and Costello.

If you could, what in your career would you do-over or change?

I would make some of the projects I loved, like the animated feature Cats Don’t Dance, last years and years because I loved all the people and I loved the style of the film.  It was funny, cartoony animation, my favorite kind.

I do wish that I lived closer to some of my comic strip artist friends.  We speak a very specific language.  Brett Koth (creator of Diamond Lil) and I are two peas in a pod, but we unfortunately live 3000 miles apart. 

What work are you best-known for?

To my fellow animators, I am best known as a 2D animator.  At Pixar, I got on every 2D project going. (The short Your Friend the Rat, Ratatouille end credits, Wall-E end credits, and the short Day and Night.) To anyone else who might follow my webcomic, I would be known for Bear with Me.

What work are you most proud of?

My comic strip! I just love doing it and I feel good about it. I have been drawing Bear with Me (aka Molly and the Bear) for well over ten years.  I sort of rely on the strip to balance out my animation work.  It’s just a really important creative outlet, a place for me to be me.  

Got any big projects coming up?

By golly, I do!  I have a brand new strip compilation book coming out in February from Hermes Press, titled Bear with Me (it’s been a rough day). It is jammed packed with over 400 strips, peeks at my earliest attempts at making comic art, (yes, those embarrassing strips from when I was 14) and the obligatory “My Process” section.  It is a true labor of love, and Hermes is doing a spectacular job putting it all together.

What would you like to do or work on in the future?

I’m doing a Bear with Me graphic novel that I cowrote with my wife, Vicki Scott.  She’s an incredible artist and writer! She wrote and drew several Peanuts graphic novels such as It’s Tokyo, Charlie Brown for Boom Studios.  I am also pitching Bear with Me as an animated show.  Wouldn’t that be fun?  But mostly, I would love to keep doing the strip.

What do you do when you're in a rut or have writer's block?

I have a lot of tools to get around writer’s block. Sometimes I’ll draw an entirely finished strip and write it afterwards. It’s a challenge but keeps my brain working. And it’s really fun! Sometimes a drawing will spark a strip, sometimes the writing comes first. Occasionally just walking away and coming back is the answer.

What do you think will be the future of your field?

There’s never been a better time for an artist that wants to get there work out there.  Sure, there are fewer newspapers than when I was a kid, but I predict they will still be in business for a long time to come. Webcomics are the new kid on the block and they are here to stay. The creative energy in webcomics is really amazing. People are reinventing comic strips, changing the humor, expanding the formats. There has never been a more exciting time to be a cartoonist!

What cons do you attend?

As an exhibitor, I made the circuit of conventions along the West Coast a few years ago to promote my first compilation book Molly and the Bear.  The conventions for me are full of mixed emotions.  To go to San Diego Comic Con and watch what feels like a million people walk past my book without turning their heads was really depressing, but every once in a while, someone would stop and tell me they follow my strip every day and ask for a signature. Well, that made it all worth-while.  My wife never passes up a chance to travel, so she and I have gone to cons in Germany and France to sign Peanuts comic books that we’ve drawn. I even got to do a book signing in Strasbourg, France for my book Molly and the Bear.  That was really thrilling. 

What's your favorite thing about visiting DC?

 My family and I went to DC when I was about 14. We did the whole monument tour, and I remember seeing the Watergate Hotel.  Everything I knew about Watergate at that age I had learned from Doonesbury.  So, seeing the Watergate hotel was like seeing a celebrity!

Incidentally, I went to Cal Arts with political cartoonist and fellow animator Ann Telnaes. She is tearing it up at the Washington Post.   I love her work! She is the only Pulitzer Prize winner I know.  I tried my hand at political cartoons and I can say with absolute conviction that what she does is much harder than it looks!

What monument or museum do you like to visit?

Seeing the Lincoln Memorial was really terrific. Especially because it was in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. We visited the Smithsonian and that was incredible! I remember seeing Oscar the Grouch. See where I’m going here? My brain is all about movies and cartoons! Anything related to those two things is exciting to me. I have a one track mind.  

How about a favorite restaurant? 

My favorite restaurant in Washington DC?   McDonalds! I was 14. 

Do you have a website or blog?

Yes! You can find Bear with Me on

 GoComics: https://www.gocomics.com/bear-with-me

 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bearwithmecomic/

 and Instagram: bobscott_bearwithme 

 How has the COVID-19 outbreak affected you, personally and professionally?

I have been extremely fortunate that my family and loved ones are all safe and healthy. I am also lucky that the animation industry is humming along at nearly full speed. Vicki and I both have animation jobs and have been working from home. Thank God the technology is there to be able to do that. It has been stressful to see all of this unfold and to see so many people suffering right now.  I am just doing my part by staying home, wearing a mask when I go out and washing my hands like mad. I count our blessings and hope for everyone that it’s over soon.

Saturday, July 04, 2020

Alexandra Bowman talks to India's "Wade" animation directors



"Wade" Co-Directors on Discussing Climate Change Through 2D Animation https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5nNKLXQZkK4&t=1s

"Wade" Co-Directors on Animation Inspiration, Production, and Self-Distribution https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vWWjJfPMxlk&t=2s

"Ghost Animation" Co-Founders on Creating an Animation Studio, and Animating for Amazon and Google https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=13X3_mGkGI8&t=2s


From the press release -
Upamanyu Bhattacharyya and Kalp Sanghvi's 'Wade' addresses the dangerous sea rising levels in Kolkata, India



Upamanyu Bhattacharyya and Kalp Sanghvi's Wade addresses the importance of climate change by focusing on the dangerous sea rising levels in India. This stunning animation will be screening online as part of Annecy International Animated Film Festival in June and Palm Springs International Shortfest also in June where it will be competing for the Best of the Festival Award and Best Animated Short.

In an imagined future where Kolkata is rendered unlivable by rising sea level, things take a dark turn when a family of climate change refugees are ambushed by a tiger in the flooded streets.

Co-director Upamanyu Bhattacharyya is an animator, filmmaker, comic artist and illustrator. Upamanyu co-directed the highly acclaimed short film Wade with Kalp Sanghvi. As a founding partner of Ghost Animation in Kolkata, he has worked on a wide range of animation and illustration projects for clients including Google, Amazon, and Penguin. Bhattacharyya worked on the title sequence for acclaimed director Mani Ratnam's film OK Kanmani, storyboarded his other film Kaatru Veliyidai and has also worked with Academy Award winning composer A.R. Rahman to create storyboards for his VR project Le Musk.  Currently, he is finishing his work on his next solo animated short Ten, a dark comedy about the mass exodus from Bangladesh in 1971 and is developing his animated feature City of Threads, set in Ahmedabad in the 1960's.

Co-director Kalp Sanghvi is also an animation filmmaker and illustrator who co-founded Ghost Animation in Kolkata in 2015. He has worked on various animation and illustration projects for clients including Amazon and Sony Entertainment India. Kalp has worked on title sequences for feature films including acclaimed director Umesh Shukla's 102 Not Out, featuring Amitabh Bachchan & Rishi Kapoor. 
He is developing his first animated series Rajbari: The Ancestral House, a fantasy family drama set in Kolkata and working on an animated short film about tiger conservation in collaboration with the Wildlife Trust of India called Remains.

Wade has currently applied to over 60 festivals and its selections so far include 
Palm Springs International Short Fest, Brooklyn Film Festival (Best Film, Audience Award), ITFS Stuttgart, Krakow Film Festival, Animayo Film Festival (Best Art Direction) and OFF Odense International Film Festival.

This film screened online as part of the Annecy International Animated Film Festival on June 15th to June 30th and won the "City of Annecy" Award and at Palm Springs International ShortFest on June 16th to June 22nd.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Please Don't Cancel Zootopia: An Editorial



by Alexandra Bowman

In light of the renewed conversation about racism in our country after the death of George Floyd, another sub-discussion has emerged. Works of art, films, and media properties with subjects relevant to the events of the past few weeks are being reexamined--and the 2016 Disney film Zootopia has once again become a topic of discussion.

The film famously attempted to tackle about 45 social and political issues. It seems, at first glance, that racism is the one central issue to the film, but closer analysis of the filmmakers’ intentions and the film’s storyline itself prove that the film is not centrally anti-racist, but anti-bias. And the reason for this, as I’ll explain, is to help explain bias to children from a bird’s-eye view, and should not be condemned for its mission--to help teach the very young to seek out and eliminate prejudice within themselves.

There is a seven-part documentary available for viewing on YouTube about the multi-year creative process behind the movie. Throughout, and in Part Seven especially, the filmmakers speak about their intentions while creating the film, the effect they hoped the film would have on its viewers, and the effect of the film on their own children. 

“You certainly look at the world through a different lens after telling a story like this… Maybe I can do better. Maybe I’m looking at things the wrong way. I’ve been thinking about how to have those conversations [about bias] with my kids… the process of the movie has already changed how I talk to them, and how I want them to hopefully perceive the world differently,” stated co-director Jared Bush.

“I think in my own family. When I look at my little boy, I see a very Asian face. I first and foremost want to instill that he should be proud of who he is no matter what. You know, this world, it’s not easy to not be white. So, as much kind of inner strength and inner confidence and belief that he can do anything is what I want to instill. I hope this movie is part of that,“ says co-head of Story Josie Trinidad.

While some may argue that what the filmmakers intended to do doesn’t matter, and that the thing they ultimately created speaks for itself while their motives in creating the film are of little-to-no relevance, given that recent attacks on Zootopia have been leveled toward its creators--attacks that accuse them of being insensitive in their discussion of complex issues within the film and putting forth a sloppy, incomplete product--it is important that these creators’ intentions be publicized. According to their words, they intended to create a piece of popular art encouraging tolerance.

When talking about Zootopia in 2020, in light of new and complex conversations about racism, we have to realize what Zootopia is.

In Part Three of the behind-the-scenes featurettes, the filmmakers speak about and show clips from an ABC documentary released in 1970, called The Eye of the Storm, in which a teacher of a class of white children conducts a social experiment with her students. She has half of her students put on small black collars. The teacher immediately set rules and limitations for those children to abide by that were intended to be perceived instantly as unfair. Later that day, the teacher gave students an academic test, and the students who wore collars performed significantly worse having been told that they were inferior. Some students even broke down crying over their new inferior social status. 

The teacher states in the documentary that she hoped to teach these children about the arbitrariness of racism. The filmmakers explain that this documentary was deeply influential for them in creating the film, not only for themselves in thinking about that arbitrariness of societally-imposed labels, but also with regard to the impact that can come from teaching young children about bias in ways they can understand.

The filmmakers were inspired by the problem of racism to create a film about bias. They did not, however, seek to create a film about racism, nor to create a film explaining it.

Bias is just one element of racism, and racism is just one kind of bias. Zootopia is ambitious to a fault, seemingly attempting to tackle tokenism, police brutality, regionalism, sexism, racial slurs, and racism more broadly. These are all issues and behaviors that result from the problem of bias. Racism is, of course, incredibly complex, and so is bias. But the concept at the center of bias--assuming something about someone based on their appearance or observable traits, is slightly easier to boil down for the sake of a kids’ film.

Producer Clark Spencer spoke about the need to simplify, which came with an enormous sense of responsibility. “On this film more than any other, this has been a very difficult story to nail down,” he said. “We were dealing with this important topic, and it needed to be told in a very elegant way… it’s a responsibility. They shouldn’t all be enormous ideas, but there should be something very optimistic and very hopeful in our storytelling that allows kids, teenagers, adults, to relate to that story and makes them think about something.”

This is a movie intended to teach children about loving your neighbor and being able to recognize bias in yourself. It is about avoiding relying on generalizations about the many that will cause you to create conclusions about the individual. It is not, at least directly, about racism.

“In this world, predator and prey have figured out a way to coexist in the same city. But what we’re going to find out is that coexistence isn’t as utopian as you might think. There is truly a problem in the city And that is the fundamental part that gets to the idea of bias, about two groups that assume something about somebody else,” says Spencer.

Exactly. Zootopia creates a problem in a fictional world--that predator and prey animals must now live together in coexistence, and it isn’t working as well as the city’s Thomas More-derived name would suggest, as the film quickly demonstrates. Then it uses that very fictional problem--that revolves around, remember, talking animals not getting along--to allude to macrocosmic issues plaguing the human world today. 

The conflict within Zootopia’s story alludes to the problem of racism, but any direct ties between Zootopia’s story about bias and the ongoing problem of racism in the United States are overextrapolations. Zootopia does not appear to stake its plot on the delineations between individual animal species--it draws its main distinctions between predators and prey. If the filmmakers sought to make a film with direct, literal statements about race to be carried literally into our human, 21st-century lives, they will have made a film that suggests there are only two races of human beings. It feels safe to assume that, if someone managed to work their way up to the best animation studio in the world, this is not something they believe.

Jared Bush comments on this universality in Part Three of the documentary. “I think that’s one of the biggest things for us. It’s not a specific group it’s not a specific race, it’s not a gender, it’s none of those things. It’s simply two groups that do not get along, and one group that’s feeling lesser than… For me, in thinking about what are we trying to say--it should feel universal.” 

Ultimately, the people who made Zootopia set out to tell a basic animal fable about bias, are following in the steps of a tradition as old as Aesop. It is unreasonable to throw out a film, or no longer be willing to learn from it or be entertained by it holistically as a work of art, because it doesn’t perfectly accomplish its many goals.

Zootopia is not intended to teach about racism specifically, but if a parent wants to use the film in a dinner conversation with young children about events going on in the United States right now, it is certainly a good introduction for very young children to these profound struggles and issues plaguing our world. And Zootopia should not by any means be the only thing a parent shows their child to teach them about racism.

And for those of us who are no longer children living in this complex world, Zootopia is an entertaining film that reminds us to be tolerant of those who are different from us, who we might expect to be one way but are in reality another.

In the words of Byron Howard in Part One of the featurette documentary:

“In this world of animals, where the animals are so different from one another, those things that are common are where they find that connection, and realize, ‘You’re not so different from me,’” stated Howard. “You may look different from me, you were brought up differently, but in the end, we all care about the same things. And we all deserve the respect that we want from each other. We all deserve to be happy in our lives. We deserve love, we deserve equality. And that’s why I think these movies are so powerful, because they are modern fables. We’re able to talk about things that are very very difficult, and we’re able to bring into conversation things that are kind of awkward to talk about. But that’s what the film is about.” 

It is also unreasonable to expect Disney to set out to make a film under the umbrella of the Aesop’s Fable model and capture every piece of nuance regarding one of the biggest social issues plaguing our world today. No filmmaker would walk into creating a movie with the intent of “explaining racism.” It would be wrong of their audience to accuse them of doing so. Further, to say that the filmmakers failed to create a way to explain racism to children is to assume “explaining racism” what they sought out to do.
           
If Zootopia wanted to perhaps shield itself from the critique that it oversimplifies—a critique that, perhaps surprisingly, only one Rotten Tomatoes reviewer leveled upon the film’s release in 2016—it could have put an explanatory statement before its opening scene.  Dreamworks’ 1998 film The Prince of Egypt, opened with a black title card and the following in white text:

“The motion picture you are about to see is an adaptation of the Exodus story. While artistic and historical license has been taken, we believe that this film is true to the essence, values, and integrity of a story that is a cornerstone of faith for millions of people worldwide. The biblical story of Moses can be found in the book of Exodus.”

Zootopia could have said something that would convey the following, “This is a family movie about a complex issue. We took artistic license—not only to make the story more entertaining when adapted into a film, but also to keep that film to a 90-minute runtime. This film is about a serious subject that is foundational to the lives of millions, but we believe this captures the ESSENCE of, or an introduction to, the story we want to tell.”

However, the film’s unspoken premise arguably serves in place of that statement. Zootopia is a Disney film, about talking animals, descended from the Aesop’s fable, intended for children. Animal fables have been used for centuries--think Aesop telling “The Fox and the Grapes” in the sixth century BCE--to simplify issues to teach children moral lessons. By definition, a fable is a simplification of an idea, simplified for the benefit of children who come of age in a complex world and must gradually come to understand complex ideas.

Clark Spencer mentions in Part Three of the documentary that the Disney team actually hired Dr. Shakti Butler, President and Founder of World Trust Educational Services, as a diversity consultant and advisor. Butler speaks about what she hoped Zootopia would accomplish with its immense reach as a Disney film:

“Disney’s role in creating culture is profound,” says Butler. “Culture teaches you who you are, where your place is in the world. And a lot of it is implicit. So if I go to school, and I see all the former principals are all white and they’re all male, I’m learning about power. If you’re going to create a society that’s equitable, you can’t do it without changing culture. And so when we shift culture, and children can see themselves inside of a story, and that they can play all different kinds of roles. That degree of flexibility is very important. Prejudice, of course, is something that everybody has. But where does prejudice come from? It comes from the ways that we are taught to be biased. And those two elements are linked together. And they’re also linked to the larger system of inequity.”

The way the film works with the image of the police force is certainly up for debate. It is at least worth noting that the filmmakers made the issue of bias central to its look at the police as well. Judy Hopps begins the film with the explicit goal of “wanting to make the world a better place” while not realizing her own bias, and then spends the rest of the movie realizing it in the context of her role as a police officer, and helps the rest of the force realize their own prejudice. At a minimum, this is a good step. After all, isn’t that one of the ultimate goals of the current conversation about policing in this country? To help officers realize bias within themselves and manage it?

Some have argued that Zootopia paints an entirely positive picture of police--which ignores Judy’s character arc and key moments in the storyline. In the middle of the film, Chief Bogo, a water buffalo (i.e. prey animal), says of Nick Wilde as a potential witness in an investigative case, “you think I’m going to believe a fox?” After Judy teaches Chief Bogo that, as he spells it out, “that the world has always been broken and that’s why we need good cops,” Bogo is later shown welcoming Nick to the police force.

It is probably clear that I am not dealing with the kind of suffering so many are during this time. It is a privilege to be able to sit and write out and publish an op-ed defending a Disney movie amidst an ongoing crisis of racial injustice and police brutality in this country.

I think that the question of whether this film is culturally renounced (or “canceled,” as the young’uns are calling it now) is not unimportant.

Back in 2015, I had just finished a tough freshman year of high school. Having transferred to a different high school for sophomore year, I had to rebuild myself--to find something that I was good at, that I would stand out for. I loved popular culture and literature, particularly The Lord of the Rings and Doctor Who, but I couldn’t quite place why. I knew I loved these series’ ethical and emotional depth, but I hadn’t yet mentally grasped what about that depth appealed to me. Going into my sophomore year of high school, I began to work with my interests in illustration and literature, and had begun working towards understanding my goals as a student and person in the world.

Nick Wilde by Alex Bowman, April 2016
But coming out of the Regal Cinemas theater on Zootopia’s opening night on March 4th, 2016, I finally realized what I loved about these works of popular art. By faithfully basing themselves on classical story structures, classic fables, and conflicts of good and evil and love and hate, these stories taught young children moral lessons. They helped them better understand in their hearts AND their minds the world they were about to grow into. Zootopia was released six months before Donald Trump was elected President, and its climactic scene of societal unrest was how I mentally framed this new world for myself from my small world as a high school student, coming into social and political consciousness during the most polarized time in American history since the Civil War. I remember looking over and making eye contact with my parents in the theater when the line “Have you considered a mandatory quarantine on predators?” was uttered by a Zootopian reporter to Judy in the press conference scene--earlier that afternoon I had just been reading headlines about then-candidate Donald Trump’s insinuations that quarantining all Muslims might be something he would champion as president.

Zootopia helped me to, even as a 16-year-old, start to wrap my head around the issue of tolerance, and how even those who consider themselves tolerant are likely to have seeds of bias, and even bigotry, inside them.

photo by Bruce Guthrie
The work I do today with political cartoons and satire is still based around my central mission of creating media to educate young people through entertainment. Zootopia enabled me to finally put the pieces together, to realize the power of media to affect the young and influence their minds for the better. My goal with my work across the board, both now and for the foreseeable future, is to realize the most effective means of doing just that.

If Zootopia is somehow “cancelled,” or made socially or culturally unacceptable to enjoy, generations of children will miss the chance to not only learn about the basics of tolerance--and perhaps even realize within themselves the potential of film to touch future generations. I hope that Zootopia can remain a beloved modern classic that will stay alive to do so. 

Alexandra Bowman is a freelance illustrator, political cartoonist, and fine artist from Washington, D.C. She serves as the Editorial Political Cartoonist for Our Daily Planet, a climate news platform. She serves as an in-house illustrator for Georgetown University’s Office of Communications. 

Alex is a member of the National Cartoonists Society and the Cartoonists Club of Great Britain, and is the youngest current member of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists. She also currently serves as the Satire Correspondent on The Economist's Kevin "Kal" Kallaugher's webseries, "Satire Can Save Us All." During the Summer of 2020, she is interning for Voice of America, for whom she will be creating illustrations to be published across VOA's social media platforms. 

Alex is also the creator of “The Hilltop Show,” Georgetown University’s political comedy show, which seeks to present campus, national, and international news to a wide audience in an entertaining package. More information about the show can be found at hilltopshow.com. 

Alex has illustrated three children's books and has had work published by BBC News, BBC Books, Puffin Books, the Georgetown University Institute of Politics and Public Service, and Penguin Random House UK. Her work has been featured by a variety of groups on social media, including Disney XD and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.